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"The encounter between Rochester and Antoinette represents an encounter between two worlds" Discuss.

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"The encounter between Rochester and Antoinette represents an encounter between two worlds" Discuss. Jean Rhys' Wide Sargasso Sea depicts two opposing cultures, that of England, represented by Rochester and that of Jamaica, illustrated by Antoinette. The fusion of these two worlds is inharmonious, as neither Rochester nor Antoinette is able to adapt to the constraints of the other's culture. It is fitting that this meeting of conflicting entities unravels in a town called 'Massacre'. In such an appropriate naming, Rhys forebodes the strife which lies ahead. Furthermore, in an ironic twist, it is evident that both characters find difficulty in embracing themselves into the culture which is their own. Indeed, Rochester and Antoinette are thrust together as a result of rejection from their own worlds. Their marriage is for the sake of convenience, as Rochester attempts to appease his family and Antoinette is forced into matrimony by her step father's family. Yet, can their personal encounter be defined as an 'encounter between two worlds'? Not necessarily, it is possible for one to reason that the very opposite is true, and that Rochester and Antoinette are representatives of the same struggle. ...read more.


Markedly, this Jamaican community is equally hostile in its reaction to Antoinette. With the exception of Christophine and Sandi, the natives are unwelcoming to her. It is abundantly clear that they do not recognise her as a part of their world. To the reader it seems ironic that neither Antoinette nor Rochester is embraced by their own, yet nor can they recognise the other's inability to conform. Through the post colonialist ideas explored by Rhys one can infer the stark contrast of the differentiation evident between Rochester and Antoinette. "I've heard English women call us white niggers...I often wonder who I am and where is my country and where do I belong and why was I ever born at all." Antoinette is a clearly confused character whose feelings constantly fluctuate, however one cannot deny that she is a Creole despite her feelings. Rochester is white English of the descent that has caused conflict throughout their ancestor's lives. So why should this change for the sake of one relationship? Antoinette's favourite picture is "The Miller's Daughter" consisting of an English girl with brown curls and blue eyes, so this portrays a deeper love of English society which Antoinette has. ...read more.


Rochester is amazed that Emile is unsure of his own age, and as a result of such ignorance, as he perceives it, he condemns the characters as unworthy of his attention. Furthermore, this failure on Rochester's part disables both Antoinette and himself to found a meaningful relationship. When Rochester learns of Antoinette's request to Christophine rather than recognise the romance of the notion, he immediately attributes sinister intentions on Antoinette's part. The sustained differences between Antoinette and Rochester could lead the reader to define the characters' relationship as an "encounter between two worlds." A mutual comprehension between the two is clearly improbable, due to the reality that neither is able to understand or adapt to the others life. However, it is possible to reason that in fact the two are very similar, after all both are rejected by their own communities. In conclusion, one is unable to recognise Rochester and Antoinette as opposing entities, although their encounter provokes a highly volatile reaction. Rather, it is more accurate to interpret Antoinette and Rochester as representatives of the same 'world', individuals of the same circumstance, yet born into different cultures, tragically, however, the characters fail to recognise their undeniable bond. ...read more.

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